Freshway Foods is a long-standing supporter of the Shelby County United Way. Through the generosity of our associates, Freshway was a Top 10 Supporter of the organization in 2014. As part of our annual pledge drive, we had an opportunity to learn more about how our donations are used in the Sidney/Shelby County, Ohio community.
Kathy Lindsey, Executive Director for New Choices, Inc. recently addressed the Freshway Team, to provide insight into how our support of United Way helps local victims of domestic violence. New Choices was founded 33 years ago as a special project of the Shelby County United Way, with the goal of helping people live a life free of violence.
New Choices operates an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children, where family members can stay together in their own private room. Kathy explained that it is important for victims to have the opportunity for privacy and control over their lives, as this is often missing in an abusive relationship. Over the past 33 years, over 2000 individuals have received temporary shelter at New Choices.
In addition to the emergency shelter, New Choices operates a variety of intervention and prevention programs in the Sidney/Shelby County community. Following are just a few of the services they offer:
- 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: Victims of domestic violence can call any time, day or night, every day of the year for support and assistance.
- Safety Planning: Victims of domestic violence often have complexities to their safety that need to be carefully considered and addressed. For example, Kathy stated that abusers will often hide birth certificates and other important documents, making it harder for an abused person to leave. New Choices will help in preparing a safety plan that works for victims of abuse and their children.
- Court Advocacy: The court system can be confusing, and New Choice provides advocates for victims, to provide support, assist with hearings and explain the process.
- Homeless Crisis Response Program: For families receiving emergency shelter, the cost of obtaining permanent housing can seem overwhelming. When victims of domestic violence believe they have no hope of making it on their own, they may feel that they have no choice but return to the abusive relationship. New Choices offers assistance in the form of the first month’s rent and security deposit, in addition to utility assistance, making a life free of violence more achievable.
- School Programs: New Choices works with local schools to develop programs aimed at preventing bullying and dating violence.
For a complete list of services offered by New Choices, we encourage you to visit their website. Kathy also noted that their services are available to both women and men who are victims of domestic violence.
New Choices is currently embarking on a capital campaign to raise funds for plumbing, electrical and HVAC updates to their emergency shelter. They are also in need of paper products and cleaning supplies. If you are interested in supporting New Choices, we encourage you to visit the New Choices website for more information.
More information about how the Shelby County United Way provides support for programs and agencies in the Sidney/Shelby County, Ohio area is available at shelbycounitedway.org.